Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Singing Generations

Wednesday greetings from Chicago. My prayers go out to our brothers and sisters being affected today by Hurricane Isaac.

I attended a session at my parish, Saint James, last night. I am part of a planning group assigned with the task of drafting a new mission statement for our parish. It was fascinating to hear some of the more seasoned parishioners talk about the deep historical roots of our parish.

It got me thinking about my own personal musical historic roots. Several years ago, my Dad gave me a photograph. Here are some photos I took of that photo last night:

This is a photo of a choir picnic held at Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

The caption reads "St. Anthony's Choir Oak Bluffs July 21st 1929".

My paternal grandparents were in the choir; they actually met at Sunday Evening Vespers at Saint Anthony's in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Sunday Vespers, I am told, was always followed by a Whist party. Whist is a card-game akin to Bridge. My family still plays Whist at pretty much every family gathering; it's a high point on Thanksgiving and Christmas. My parents, my sister, and I played it nearly every Sunday night when we were teenagers.

At any rate, my grandparents were married shortly after this photo was taken. Here's a closer view of my "Memere" and "Pepere."

My grandfather is in the center of the back row; he's wearing round-lensed glasses. To his left (our right) is my grandmother. This photo was taken three months to the day before the stock market crash of 1929.

What is perhaps more remarkable about this photograph is the fact that another of my ancestors is pictured here as well.

Right in the center of this portion of the photograph sits a woman in a v-neck white dress. She is my great-grandmother, Sophie. I knew her in the 1960's and 1970's, when she had snow-white hair. She was one of the sweetest people I ever knew. She used to visit and sit in the rocking chair and pray her rosary, her face serene.

So, apparently my great-grandmother, my grandfather, and my grandmother all sang in the choir at Saint Anthony's Parish in New Bedford, Massachusetts in the 1920's. And that was the parish at which I was baptized.

So, today is a "get back to your roots" day for yours truly.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through time with me.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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